How to Grow Strawberries
Strawberry plants are an easy to grow perennial plant. They are one of the
most common fruits in the home garden for both their ease of growth and
popularity at the table...if they get that far. All you need are some plants,
or shoots, an area in your garden that receives full sun, fertile soil, plenty
of water, and your green thumb.
Varieties of Strawberries
There are two basic types (and many varieties) of Strawberries. They are
June Bearing Strawberry plants and Ever Bearing Strawberries. As their name
implies, June bearing types produce luscious berries in June. And, the Ever
bearing produce over much of the garden season, usually beginning in June.
Most commonly, strawberries are grown by baby plants coming off runners from
the mother plant. The baby strawberry plants root themselves into moist soil.
The runner can then be snipped off. Transplant the baby plant into a new
or existing strawberry patch.
Strawberry plants can also be propagated from seed. The seeds, grown on the
outside of the fruit, can be planted directly into the garden. Most often,
they are started indoors. Starting strawberries from seed is fun. Just tell
your friends and fellow gardeners that you started your plants from scratch.
They will be visible impressed.
Did You Know? A single strawberry has, on average, 200 seeds
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Preparing the Strawberry Patch:
Select an area of your garden that receives full sunshine, as this is one
of the main ingredients for a successful, sweet crop. They will grow in areas
that are sunny most of the day, but really need full sun, to develop to their
fullest and sweetest potential.
Once planted, strawberry plants will produce well for three to four years.
So, select a location that will not be disturbed.
While strawberry plants like lots of water, they need well drained soil.
This is accomplished by creating raised rows. Add fertilizer and compost
into the soil and elevate the rows a few inches above the garden soil level.
This will allow those heavy spring rains to quench your plants' thirst, but
drain away any excess water.
Space rows three to four feet apart to allow room to walk and harvest between
Planting and Growing:
Plant new shoots 12-15 inches apart. Allow new shoots to develop and grow
from strawberry runners six inches or so from the mother plant. They will
quickly fill in the rows. Once established, your patch should produce well
for three to four years. In the fourth year, prepare a new area and transplant
new shoots of strawberry runners to the new patch.
Mulch is an important ingredient to your strawberry patch, providing a number
First, it helps to keep weeds down. Strawberries will tolerate some crowding,
but a weed free patch will produce the biggest and the most berries.
Second, Mulch will help to retain soil moisture that your plants need to
grow big, big berries.
Third, berries need to be kept off the ground as they rot easily. Some mulches,
like straw, will facilitate this.
The most common type of mulch is straw, applied thickly around the plants
n in between rows.But many other mulches work too. You can even use black
plastic to keep weeds down and temperatures up.
Your berries will grow bigger and juicier if the plants are given a lot of
water to drink. Keep the soil moist. If you have well drained soil and have
used raised rows, water well and regularly. Do not allow the soil to become
Insects and Disease:
A variety of insects and diseases will affect strawberries. On the insect
front, aphids, slugs and spider mites are common pests. In terms of diseases,
strawberries fall victim to rot, wilt and fungus.
Insecticides and fungicides can be applied before fruit set. Look for and
use organic insect repellents like insecticidal soaps Minimize disease problems
by keeping the patch well weeded and don't overcrowded. This will promote
better air circulation.
End of Season Care:
After the harvest is over, many people simply forget about the Strawberry
patch. But, before you do, apply some fertilizer to your plants. And, keep
the weeds from choking out your plants.
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